Important Considerations before Buying a Timeshare

Michael Taliercio

Michael Taliercio

Are you thinking about buying a timeshare?  Undoubtedly, having a week or more reserved in a tropical destination for a vacation every year can be appealing.  However, there are a few things that you should consider before buying a timeshare –

First, owning a week at a timeshare is similar to owning a condominium unit, in that you will owe ongoing (monthly or annual) assessments for maintenance to the timeshare association.  These maintenance assessments are in addition to the actual purchase price of the timeshare unit.  So, you need to be prepared to pay assessments to the timeshare association the entire time that you own the unit.  In addition, those assessments are likely to increase over time.  You should consider whether these (likely increasing) assessments will be a financial burden for you in future.

Second, buying a timeshare is not like buying something on Amazon.  A timeshare owner typically does not have a general right to return or sell the timeshare back to the timeshare association.  In North Carolina, a timeshare contract has to at least provide the purchaser the right to cancel the contract within five days from execution of the contract.  The cancellation period in other states may be different.  After any cancellation period is over, if you want to get rid of the timeshare, then you likely can’t cancel the contract and would have to sell the timeshare unit.

Third, it can be difficult to sell a timeshare unit.  Some timeshares have transfer fees or transfer restrictions, so you should check the various contracts and other documents before purchasing a timeshare unit.  If you do an ebay search for “timeshare”, you can find hundreds of listings on any given day attempting to sell timeshare units. The listings go for for nominal amounts of money, many times simply one-dollar ($1.00).  Of course, not all timeshares are difficult to sell.  But, it’s worth doing some research into whether or not your potential timeshare unit will be marketable or not before you buy it.

Finally, you should be very, very wary of any international timeshare.  If you are signing a contract and paying some company located outside the United States, then you should understand that it’s going to be extremely difficult and expensive to pursue any sort of legal action against that company.  For example, you may decide that you want your money back from timeshare company because you believe that the timeshare was falsely described, and that company will not give your money back.  Usually, one option you would have would be filing a lawsuit against the company.  However, if the timeshare company is international, then you probably will not be able to easily pursue the timeshare company from the United States.  You would likely need to file the lawsuit in that country; this could involve hiring a lawyer in that country, etc. That’s likely going to be extremely costly. Ultimately, you will want to be extremely cautious before purchasing any international timeshare.

While buying a timeshare can be fun and exciting, make sure to give these issues serious consideration before you sign the timeshare contract. If you need any help with a timeshare, then do not hesitate to contact Black, Slaughter, and Black PA.